There are two main types of variegated monsteras: the thai constellation and albo borsigiana. If you’re looking to buy a variegated monstera online, you should know the differences between what you’ll be getting.
To quickly tell the difference between the two most common variegated Monsteras, the Thai Constellation has off-white (almost cream colored) speckles throughout and generally has larger leaves and is a much fuller looking plant as it matures.
The Albo has more chunky blocks of variegation with some speckles, and the variegated parts are also closer to a pure white color. It’s also a little more of a sparse looking plant, as the stems grow taller with smaller leaves. You can read more about how to care for a monstera albo here.
If you’re getting a cutting, it’s likely an Albo. If you’re getting a young plant, more than likely a Thai Constellation.
However, it’s important to know that the variegation in each of these plants is very different and understanding what causes it will help you further identify the differences and help you decide which one is right for you.
You’ll need to consider ease of care, sizing, prices and which one is more likely to revert!
This article should help you identify the differences between variegated Monsteras and help decide which one you should purchase.
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Appearance & How to Identify Between the Albo and Thai Constellation
Monstera Thai Constellation
Thai Constellation’s variegation is scattered throughout the leaves, almost like spackled paint. It’s also more warm and creamy white, sometimes light yellow or soft butter.
Some leaves will be mostly green with light splashes throughout, other leaves can be mostly cream-colored with splashes of green.
Thai constellations also grow at a faster rate compared to the Albo. On a mature plant, the leaves can grow to be two or three feet wide. The nodes are tighter together giving the plant a more bushy appearance.
Pro tip – not sure if you’re ready for a Thai Constellation? A variegated pothos is a perfect starter plant with similar markings.
Monstera Albo Borsigiana
Albos can be identified by having variegation that is closer to pure white (no cream color).
Also, the variegation can be described as chunky, solid blocks with splashes of white throughout.
Monstera Albo leaves are generally going to be smaller, and probably won’t grow bigger than about 12 inches in size.
The spacing between the nodes on the stems is also much longer than in the Thai Constellation.
You’ll find there’s usually 6 inches or more between nodes. This means the plant will also look a little more tall & sparse instead of a fully and dense plant.
Because of this, you will need to give the Albo something to ‘climb’, ideally a moss pole.
If you’re limited on space, I would choose the Albo which will generally grow taller and more narrow.
Type of Variegation
Plants that have variegation mean that they have mutated cells that lack pigment (green). There are two types: stable and unstable.
Thai Constellation is a type of variegated Monstera that has been genetically produced in labs through tissue culture. This plant has what’s known as stable variegation.
The mutated cells are found throughout the plant. Meaning, you won’t have to cut back the stems to keep it variegated, it will grow in like this.
The variegation is found throughout and resembles stars in a night sky (which is why the name is so fitting).
While the variegation is considered stable, it is essentially unpredictable meaning when new leaves appear, you won’t know what type and how much variegation will be present.
Albo variegation is naturally occurring and is a genetic mutation, which is why it is unstable.
What this means is that you need to cut off new growth that isn’t variegated to keep the white color you want.
The variegation in the Albo is a natural genetic mutation and the only way it can be replicated is by trimming stems at the nodes that have a large number of the mutated cells.
This also means the Albo can revert back to all green if not properly taken care of or provided with optimal growing conditions.
Variegation on the Albo can vary a lot from plant to plant.
As a result, if you’re buying an Albo (either online or in person), it’s a good idea to look at the exact cutting you’ll be receiving.
Some leaves will have chunky blocks or sections of the white variegation, and others can have more whisps of color throughout. Whatever is present on the cuttings will be how the rest of the leaves grow in.
You always want a nice balance of green and white throughout, never too much of one or the other.
Too much green will cause it to eventually revert back if you don’t prune off the new green leaves.
Too much white and the plant will continue to sprout white leaves. Eventually, because of the lack of chlorophyll, this plant won’t be able to feed itself from the sun’s energy and slowly die off.
Are you loving rare variegated plants right now? Have You Seen the Pink Princess Philodendron?
Can I Make my Monstera Variegated?
While I mentioned that the variegation in the Monstera Albo is naturally occurring in the wild, it’s extremely rare and virtually impossible to replicate in your home.
You won’t be able to introduce variegation to a plant that isn’t already mutated, but you can help an already variegated plant push out more by providing it with more light.
Which is More Expensive – the Monstera Albo or Thai Constellation?
Since the Thai constellation has stable variegation, propagation is easier and has a higher success rate.
As a result, it’s more common to find this type of variegated Monstera and thus a little less expensive.
You can read more about how easy it is to propagate Monsteras in water here.
The Albo is harder to properly propagate. This is because you need to cut variegated stems and leaves to ensure they will produce stems/leaves that are variegated.
The issue is that if there’s too much variegation, it likely won’t survive. The white parts lack the chlorophyll pigment which means it can’t photosynthesize.
With all rare plants, whether or not you can find them and how expensive they will be depends on which country you’re in.
Since the Thai Constellation is produced through tissue culture, there is technically a stable production of these plants, but they still get bought up very quickly when they are available.
With the Albo only being reproduced by cuttings, this makes it more rare than the Thai Constellation, harder to find and therefore more expensive.
Where to Buy Variegated Monsteras
If you’re thinking of buying a variegated monstera, you’ll have the most luck online.
There are many reputable sellers on Etsy. Just find a shop with several reviews.
Variegated Monsteras out of your price range? Try the Variegated Alocasia – a great alternative and cheaper option!
Are There Differences in Care for the Monstera Albo vs. Thai Constellation?
Each of these variegated Monsteras require the same type of care and growing conditions.
They will thrive in bright, indirect light with plenty of humidity. But as with all variegated plants, you’ll have to be careful with direct sunlight. The white leaves burn much easier.
The difference in hardiness between the two is quite negligible.
But if you’re on the fence and not 100% confident in your houseplant growing powers yet, I would choose the Thai Constellation.
When two plants are compared side by side, the Thai constellation does feel a little stronger.
And the second reason is because the variegation is more stable, thus if you do end up having a plant that isn’t thriving, it’s easier to propagate and start over if need be.
Which is Better?
When choosing between the monstera albo and thai constellation, it really comes down to personal preference, how much space you have and what type of variegation you prefer. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other.
If you want a bigger plant that’s easier to keep the variegation, choose the Thai Constellation. If you’re more comfortable starting with a young plant, this one’s for you.
If you want a taller plant and love the exotic look of brilliant white leaves, choose the Albo. You’ll just have to be prepared to maintain the variegation by pruning back leaves that are not variegated.
If you have experience growing plants from cuttings, you’ll do just fine with the Albo.
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